A lot has fallen into place since my last update on the new Sweetwater Gondola going in at Jackson Hole, the only new gondola at a North American ski resort for 2016. All three terminal sites required significant excavation and utility relocation which is largely complete. A crane set all of the big steel at the bottom terminal last Thursday and Friday. The station is nowhere near as big as the Bridger Gondola’s, which was designed for a rope speed of 1,200 fpm nearly 20 years ago (Sweetwater has a design speed of 800 fpm.) It is significantly longer and taller than the Teewinot quad next door, however. Sweetwater’s custom bottom terminal skin will arrive from Austria later this summer.
All 21 towers arrived in sections from Salt Lake City in early July and will be flown in place
at the end of the month next Wednesday. The lifting frames are the “American style” rather than the Euro-style ones Doppelmayr uses on some large gondolas. All the tower foundations are finished and ready for fly day.
Most of the action right now is at the mid-station, which will basically be two Uni-G terminals joined together. Unlike the two-stage gondola Doppelmayr built last year at Park City, Sweetwater has no angle or gauge change so there is no need for additional bullwheels. The mid-station will be fully enclosed rather than the compact windowless version on Quicksilver. The mid-terminal’s three foundations were poured this week along with three nearby tower footings. A crane arrives next week to set the station structure.
This is a huge project with many more phases still to go. Dirt work continues at the drive station site next to Casper Restaurant. As Doppelmayr works to finish the lift, three concrete heated hardscapes will be built below the stations. A second retaining wall will also go in above the top station.
The haul rope, terminal cladding, grips, hangers and operator houses are all still to arrive, mostly from Europe. I’ll also be keeping an eye out for shipping containers from Switzerland with 48 new CWA Omega cabins in Jackson Hole red.